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A DECENT MAN AND GREAT STAR
on 21 November 2014
What a man, what an actor, what a war hero. When I think of the quintessential decent American I picture James Stewart. This excellent biography confirms my vision to be right.
This book takes us from his fairly privileged childhood to his last years. Throughout his long life he never appears to have done a mean deed and this in spite of earning his living in the dog eats dog world of Hollywood.
The background to the movie production and financing is detailed and fascinating with lots of " gossip" about his co stars and of course his many leading ladies.
The chapters on his war years when he served in the heat of battle with distinction are impressive. Not for him a cosy home based service like so many celebrities, but up close action as he flew bomber mission after bomber mission into the heart of Germany and often with his plane shot up badly brought his crew home safely. His experiences of battle changed him as a man and an actor with more mature, darker performances once he was again accepted into the industry. Hard to believe that after his exceptional service and courage the Hollywood moguls thought he may be over the hill and he had to push hard to get back in.
Having got back in he starred in some of the best all time movies and entertained for another 40 years.
Weather a fan of Jimmy Stewart or not this is a worthwhile read reflecting the history of US cinema and the life of a great man.